windsor covid

Doug Ford calls out irresponsible farmers for delaying Stage 2 in Windsor-Essex

Premier Doug Ford announced today that Toronto and Peel regions will be able to enter Stage 2 of reopening in just two days from now, leaving one final region in Stage 1: Windsor-Essex.

While the rest of the province has already or will soon be able to open businesses such as restaurant patios and hair salons, this region is once again being left behind due to its unfortunate COVID-19 situation. 

Just this morning, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted that health officials identified 62 new cases in Windsor-Essex over the past two days as a result of expanded testing in an effort to resolve workplace outbreaks. 

Many of these workplace outbreaks are happening on farms throughout the region, and Ford took the opportunity during his daily press briefing on Monday to call out irresponsible farmers who've failed to get migrant workers tested for the virus.

"Farmers just aren't cooperating. They aren't sending out the people to get tested," Ford said at Queen's Park. "It's not fair to the people of Windsor, it's not fair to other people doing what you're doing."

Ford has called on farmers to increase testing among workers several times now, and it seems he's finally reached his wits' end. 

"To the people in Windsor-Essex, I'm sorry, it's not fair. But this isn't working out. I'd knock down a brick wall for farmers. They're the hardest-working people I know. But please cooperate. There's 8,000 temporary workers there," Ford said as he pleaded with farmers to comply.

"It's very simple. We'll send in the resources, we have the resources —the mobile units — but you can't force someone to get tested."

The Premier went on to call the situation "frustrating" and said he won't hesitate to "pull out other tools" to ensure testing increases in these problematic areas.

He also pointed out that the provincial government is providing $15 million for personal protective equipment (PPE), and he said they're willing to "bend over backwards" and "do whatever it takes" to help improve the situation.

"Whatever tool I have to protect the people of Windsor — and the food supply chain, and the farmers, and the workers — I'll start pulling out every tool I have at my disposal to make sure this gets done," he said. 

"It's just not fair what you're doing right now, simple as that."

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